PREVIEW: UNITED STATES - ALGERIA
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CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The United States hold their World Cup destiny in their hands on Wednesday when they square off with a resilient Algerian squad at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium in a first-ever encounter.

A win will guarantee the US a berth in the Round of 16, a feat only achieved in recent World Cups in 1994 and 2002.

With the US and England having both drawn their opening two games, the Yanks have a slight edge on the Three Lions on goals scored, and can claim first spot in the group with a win by a margin equal or greater than that of England's in their match versus Slovenia.

Bob Bradley's men enter the game with confidence following their superb second half comeback in their last outing against the Slovenians that ended 2-2.

With their backs against the wall at halftime, and a two-goal deficit and possible elimination staring them down, the Americans orchestrated a pair of goals courtesy of Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, only to have a third from Maurice Edu disallowed in a controversial decision by referee Koman Coulibaly.

Another dubious decision from the Malian whistle-blower saw starting forward Robbie Findley receive his second yellow card of the tournament, meaning the Real Salt Lake striker will not be available for Wednesday's game.

Bradley may look to Edson Buddle to pair up top with Jozy Altidore, or shift Clint Dempsey up from the right flank.

With several options in the midfield, Bradley could start the formation of Donovan, Edu, Bradley and Benny Feilhaber that featured in the successful second half of the Slovenia game.

Jose Francisco Torres and DaMarcus Beasley, who will recognize Rangers teammate and Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra, could also see action as substitutes.

The US defense looks to remain unchanged with Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay Demerit and Steve Cherundolo forming the backline, and Tim Howard minding the net.

Algeria enters the game with a well-earned point picked up against England last Friday in rainy Cape Town.

Coach Rabah Saadane's squad will, without a doubt, be looking for a win to potentially secure their first ever entry into the knock-out stage.

A previous appearance in the World Cup in 1982 ended on a sour note after West Germany and Austria intentionally played to 1-0 result, thus eliminating the Algerians. In their other appearance in the finals in 1986 in Mexico, the Algerians failed to exit the group stage.

Suffering a scoring drought and thirsty for goals, the Desert Foxes will rely on Karim Ziani and Karim Matmour to spark the attack.

The equally potent Siena striker Abdeelkader Ghezzal makes a return from suspension after picking up a red card in the first game against Slovenia for a blatant handball.

Saadane's midfield and defensive formation from the England game looks unchanged with no major injuries to worry about. Following Faouzi Chaouchi's blunder that allowed Slovenia to take the lead in the first game, Saadane may stick with backup goalkeeper Rais M'bohi, who recorded a shutout against England.

Loftus Versfeld will be the third stadium to be revisited for the US following their campaign last year through the Confederations Cup.

The Americans opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Italy at Loftus Versfeld and succumbed to a powerful Brazilian squad 3-0 three days later at the same location.

A Belgian trio of referees led by Frank De Bleeckere will officiate the first meeting between the two nations in international competition.
Tom
Wednesday June 23, 2010 3:05 am
You can write me off as sentimental, but I'd like to see Beasley in this game. He's given the US a lot over the years. He got hit by some injuries that have derailed his career up to this point, but I think you should go with someone that's been through the wringer a couple times in a match this big. I start (left to right) Beasley Donovan Bradley and either Dempsey (with Buddle as the second striker) or Holden (with Dempsey as the second striker).

We could really look back some day and say this game was the turning point for US Soccer. For good or for bad.

Come on, boys!
bandeeto
Wednesday June 23, 2010 2:14 am
Forwards: Dempsey and Buddle

Mids: Feilhaber Edu Bradley Donovan

Def: Boca Goodson Demarit Cherundolo

Goal: Howard

Subs: -Altidor (50 min, Buddle)
-Holden (65 min, Feilhaber. Move Donovan to left, Holden on right),
-Gomez (75-80 min, for Dempsey or Bradley, but only if the defence looks good. Both need a break. Obviously Demspey would straight swap. If Bradley gets sub'd then Dempsey would move to the left, Feilhaber to the center in front of Edu, and Donovan back to the right side. If the defence looks gassed, then save the final sub just in case).

Each sub adds something at the right point in the game. All lineups are balanced and able to attack. Each sub changes the team makeup enough to unsettle Algeria. Each sub is offensive minded without giving too much up on defence.

My $0.02.
Mark O
Tuesday June 22, 2010 7:53 pm
Benny F is the odd man out as is Beasley. If we use the Confederation Cup as a precedent Benny contributed a great deal, he should be used more. I say we start Clark and use Beasley for his speed and experience. I would use only one striker in Altidore and start Beasley and bring Feillhaber and Gomez in at half tiime. Too bad Davies got hurt.
Tiger
Tuesday June 22, 2010 7:02 pm
The US has to seize control right from the get go, and never let up, much as they did in the second half against Slovenia. The defenders have got to maintain discipline and shape, and not allow Algeria space to attack.

When the USA plays with the utmost in determination, focus, inspiration, and motivation, they can more than hold their own against any other team in the world.

Anyone not totally blind, saw that the Slovenians were mugging at least four or five American players in the penalty area on Edu's goal (something Slovenia got away with throughout the match), after which the 'official' mugged the Americans again with his blatantly bogus call stealing away Edu's goal.

The USA needs to get on the warpath right from the start, and stay on it the whole way, leaving no doubt, and no opportunity for any officials to cheat and/or rob us.

Here's to our team giving it everything they have individually and collectively, every step, all the way, play to their full potential, and head into the knock out rounds totally on the upswing.
dude
Tuesday June 22, 2010 3:38 pm
It's not that we weren't cautious against England and Slovenia- it is that we were tentative. The two early goals against England and Slovenia were ones where our back line was standing flatfooted on the edge of the 18. We need to press players all over the pitch, and move forward and backward as a unit. We're a better team than Algeria.

Buddle should start, and will be key to troubling Algeria's keeper (whichever one they decide to field). And if Edu doesn't start, (insert previously stated ultimatum about Bob's frustrating player selection). Holden and Gomez will likely see the field, with Beasley and Torres a maybe.
SurfGuy
Tuesday June 22, 2010 3:26 pm
Hey Monkey Boy...We scored almost 3 goals in the second half of our last match, should have been more. So much for sitN back aye. And si, we play our best (for whatever reason) with our backs against the wall. That does suck, you're correct!

---SurfGuy
cbb1217
Tuesday June 22, 2010 2:52 pm
My feeling on the game is that the US actually learned their lesson about giving up early goals and underestimating opponents. They'll come out and take control of the game from the beginning and take some momentum into the next round.
Ric Fonsea
Tuesday June 22, 2010 2:29 pm
When will Mr. Bradley accept the fact tha he has several other players in his arsenal. e.g. Torres, Gomez, Buddle, tetc., that can provide speed and goal scoring potential??? This is so maddening that it boggles the mind, and yet many of us feel that the reason the US MNT start off slow is BECAUSE of his intransingency to put in players who can yield results! Never mind the forever comment of nepotism, or his seeming inability to change tactics, or his tunnel vision as far as the forwards are concerned, but to continue to go with Altidore (because of his size/bulk) and then dink around with Donovan and Dempsey, in many people's opinion, has gone beyond the pale. Still, all I can say to the USA MNT: SI SE PUEDE!!! VAMOS USA!!!
Monkey Boy
Tuesday June 22, 2010 2:19 pm
The key is not actually scoring early, it's not giving up a goal in the first half.

If we settle back and hold Algeria scoreless in the first half, then they will come after us in the second - they need a win. This will open up space for us to get a goal. Patience needs to be on our side!

Also, BB's coaching for a 2nd half with a lead tends be sit back on the lead. This actually makes us weaker - see results. We seem to be best with our backs against the wall. A 0-0 halftime score puts us in that position with a lot of potential to grab the win.
paul lorinczi
Tuesday June 22, 2010 1:59 pm
The way to win is get a goal in the 1st 15 minutes.

Once that happens, the game opens up and Landon Donovan has the game of his life.

If Algeria stays in the game for 70 minutes, it will be difficult for us. We need to break them early and I say we win.

Whatever the line up, our guys need to play with the same heart and determination of the 2nd half of Slovenia.
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